With the knowledge that kids need to stay rear-facing as long as possible, one of the more popular seats is the Sunshine Kids Radian since two of three models allow rear-facing up to 45 pounds, and it's one of the tallest seats on the market. It fits newborns, meaning you can skip the infant seat stage and go from birth to often 4-5 years rear-facing, and a few more forward-facing.
A newer feature on the seats is a Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) strap that Sunshine Kids named the "Super LATCH" because unlike any other LATCH strap, it allows use beyond the typical 45-pound limit.
However, there's an increasing number of complaints and concerns from moms that this strap may not be so super after all ...
I came across a video in a car seat group, showing the LATCH strap tightly secured and then coming undone frighteningly easily:
Apparently this is one of many videos showing the same result. Googling "Radian Super LATCH coming loose" shows lots of complaints from moms saying they've experienced the same thing. The seat loosens even with just the weight and movement from a child crawling into the seat, or situations where a toddler has put their leg over the edge and undone the seat with their foot in a moving car! Yikes!
Many of those who reported problems are Safe Kids certified car seat technicians, which means if they can't install it right, no one can. On the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHSTA) complaints database, I found over 75 complaints about this same problem. (If you ever have a problem with a seat, make sure you file it here, even if the company resolves it!)
Many contacted Sunshine Kids and reportedly received inconsistent answers, from "you didn't install it right" to "duct-tape it." Some were sent new straps, either super LATCH straps or the old model of LATCH strap (but without a warning attached that it couldn't be used to the same high weight as the 'super' LATCH strap). When moms wrote back to comment on the malfunction of the same belt in the same way after receiving a replacement, many report that they were told their case was considered "closed." Huh?
Sunshine Kids' Facebook wall has exploded with videos and questions from customers who are upset and concerned. Sunshine Kids released a video and written response, which seemed to irritate customers more than anything. A car seat tech created a group called "Recall Sunshine Kids Radian SuperLATCH." She and other women claim their complaints on SK's page were deleted and they were blocked. Holy cow!
Some suggest "using the seatbelt," but if you paid extra for a specific feature that then malfunctioned and put your kid at risk, just being told not to use that extra feature isn't a solution. Especially when moms not on Facebook or car seat forums may not be aware of the problem unless some recall or letters of warning are mailed out.
Hopefully they're working on some kind of real solution, and will let anyone using the potentially dangerous straps know that this very real problem, and soon.
Do you have a Radian with the "super" LATCH strap? Does your seat loosen, too?
Image via YouTube